A Comment on Pain Management and Physician Liability and Culpability
By Ken K. Gourdin
Author’s Note: I posted the following in response to a story about a physician recently under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration regarding his pain management practices. The story is here (last accessed today): http://www.sltrib.com/pages/comments?cid=58090348.
I sympathize with people on all sides of this issue: I have worked (though in a non-clinical capacity) with addicts; I have a more extensive acquaintance with medical science than I care to admit; while I have a limited acquaintance (thankfully) with the boundaries and vagaries of pain management, I have been the beneficiary of the work of more than a few competent, caring physicians and other health professionals; and, while I do not work in medicine, I have been the target of somewhat unfair accusations that have affected my professional standing.
While I believe great care should be taken in prescribing powerful medications such as those discussed herein, I would want to make sure I have all my “ducks in a row” before leveling the sort of accusation written of in this story. If physicians are less worried about benefiting patients and more worried about covering their own posteriors, no one wins. And the biggest losers are patients.